Palau, Micronesia -- The interior of a 'Bai', a traditional Palauan meeting house.
In ancient times, every village in Palau had meeting houses called Bai. The 'Bai er a Rubak' (meeting hall for governing elders) is normally located in the village square and also serves as the community center. This type of bai was built of fine hardwoods and elaborately ornamented with traditional designs and colors.
As the most important building in the village, the Bai functioned as a meeting house for the governing elders where they were assigned seats along the walls, according to rank and title. There were no dividing walls, no furnishings, and with only two fireplaces to break up the expanse of naturally polished hardwood floor, the great hall was worthy of the dignified group it housed.